(Mis?)Adventures in Italy!

As part of the glory that was studying in London, I travelled to many different countries and had unique experiences. Travelling is hard, however, and as I traveled across Europe, the thing I experienced the most was struggle. Each trip became a little bit harder to handle and by the time my friends and I arrived in Italy, the struggle had taken over my body. 

I  managed to pull myself together and still enjoy the brief time spent in Milan, Florence and Rome. I woke up everyday extremely grateful and feeling blessed by the universe and my parents for allowing me to see the things I saw. Even when the struggle gets real, it's important to take time and remember who you are. There's no time in life to feel sorry for yourself, I've recently learned. 

I think I flourished in Milan. 
My little buns were fluffy, I loved my outfit (it's the pattern blocking that gets me), and I was feeling Milan spiritually. I hadn't experience weather as lovely as it was in a long time. As in, last August when I left California for the first time. I feel most comfortable in clothes that flow. I want to twirl and feel bustles rise, like a ballerina. Culottes are my casual way of achieving that. The top is from Primark and marks my SECOND black and white striped top from Primark. My subconscious has an agenda. I just wish it would fall in love with vertical stripes and keep my body looking linear. This light blazer with pin-stripe plaid is from Forever 21. I've gotten into a bad habit of buying things in sizes a bit too big. This one is a large, which explains the huge folds at my wrists, but maybe next year, when I'm all grown up, it'll fit properly. Those beloved culottes are from somewhere I obviously like, but apparently not enough to remember it. I'm sorry to everyone involved here. My go-to black ankle boots (which are presently going to fall apart as soon as I get to California). 

In an attempt to travel home without paying money I don't have in baggage fees, I actually am giving two trash bags full of clothing and shoes to charity. My entire wardrobe (sans shoes and coats) can fit into a carry-on sized case. This is most like the smallest my wardrobe has been in a long time. In California, I do have more summery clothes waiting for me, but I'm a bit concerned about the fits, considering I gained thirteen pounds this year! More on that later. 

Florence was a rough one for me. My feet were dead from all the walking we did in beautiful Milan, so I opted to wear sneakers, which basically threw off my entire outfit for this day. 
I bought this amazing bodysuit for something like eight pounds at Primark. It's in my proper size, but (and any other busty girl will back me up on this), low cuts and big boobs means you have to have CON-fi-DENCE. But I wasn't feeling it that day. Everyone has highs and lows. The struggle of travelling had me just as low as the cut. I decided to wear a gray camisole underneath to hide my insecurities and I moved on! My jeans (from Pull and Bear) were cool and all, but I regret pairing them with the bodysuit. The two styles didn't mesh as I'd hope. The same goes for the gray marbled socks from Forever 21. This summer, I will be doing an ultimate do-over for this bodysuit and giving it the justice it deserved. Stay tuned. 

Oh! And I've got to mention this busted twist out. The AirBnB shower I was forced into had little bugs flying around so I, admittedly, half-assed the twists. I told you this post was about struggle! And my hair in Florence completely embodied that. 

By Rome, I was no longer having it. Can you tell?
I did not even stand up to take an outfit photo. Every tourist destination we went to was insanely crowded so by the time we arrived here (The Pantheon), I was like "Here, just take a photo. K. Thanks." In retrospect, I'm not mad at this photo. The lighting is good and I look crazy cool in my knock-off, street vendor Ray-Bans that I bought because I forgot about the sun (and, by extension, sunglasses) after being in London for four months. Or maybe I just look cool when half of my face is covered.

Anyway, I'm very into this beige-on-white that I pulled out of nowhere! It feels bright and fresh without being overly so. I actually stole this top from my mother over winter holiday, so I, unfortunately, have no clue where she bought it. The spring coat is from the lovely and reliable Forever 21. I didn't know I would love this as much as I do. I'm gutted because I got back from Italy got a makeup stain on the pocket. How? I don't know. Let's move on. The jeans, you may recognize, are one of my many pairs of basic, cheap blue jeans. I can't honestly tell you which pair these are, but if you're interested (and why wouldn't you be?) they are from either Forever 21 or H&M, as is half of my wardrobe. My bag is the same one I've been wearing in all three of these photos, is from Accessorize and cost way too much money. 

Despite all the struggles I faced in Italy, it ended on a good note: arriving late to the airport and running to our gate like mad women. Sunnier days are around the corner and when they arrive, I'm going to pour a glass of lemonade and tell them all about how I went to Italy and self-destructed but "How cute did I look in Rome?" "What about in Florence?" they'll ask me. And then I'll have to explain how all photos from Florence are now ashes. 

Except for the one that you'll find here on IRBOFA, which means you'll be forced to come back and tell your friends. Have you ever wanted a holiday to end as soon as it started? Tell me about in the comments!

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Saying Good-Bye to London

Change does not come easily for me. I worry about every single circumstance that may or may not happen in the future without pausing to contemplate the reality of it all. I work myself up and become emotional. Finally, I resign to the inevitable nature of the universe and bitterly accept the future. 

But I'm not doing that this time. 

I've never been more prepared to start a new chapter in my life. Moving to London was a beautiful sidetrack to the plan I created when I was fifteen. When it began, I was constantly doubting the magic and dwelling on the fact that my plan was off-course. Slowly, London changed who I am and I just let it happen. 

Until September 2015, I planned on being a fashion journalist for Vogue or The New York Times. One month in London, walking among the West End's Theatreland, and I completely changed the course of my life. I didn't look back at fashion for a second. When you know, you know, right? 

My parents always tell an anecdote about me making my own peanut butter and jelly sandwiches when I was five. Typically, they bring it up whenever I do something without permission (my motto is 'beg for forgiveness'). I pride myself on my independence. Being in a foreign country made me realize that I'm not as capable on my own as I thought. Everyday necessities can get done with no problem, but when I come home and lay down at night, my mind rushes with the amount of things I wish I could say but can't bring myself to. I'm lonely. I miss home. I need someone here. It is so hard for me to admit that I wasn't flourishing on my own. Everyone I cared about was so much more than a phone call away. I could feel the distance as if my heart was attempting to swim the Atlantic on its own. I wish that I could say that I learned how to deal with my loneliness in a super healthy way, but it still haunts me to this day. I know now that being independent and having a support group are not mutually exclusive. 

I left high school with a general idea about who I was. I knew what I wanted, but I realize now that I had no motivation to get it. There's no point in waiting around and waiting for everything to come. Good thoughts don't manifest good things. The same goes for bad things. I say it all the time: I refuse to let myself be subjected to pain. This means, I'm not putting up with toxic people, toxic habits or anything will only harm me. I don't want to lose friends, but if I'm not happy with the way I'm being treated, then there's no point in continuing it. For the first time in forever, I feel secure enough in myself to not stay in situations that hurt me. 

It's because of this newfound realization that I feel so prepared to go home and not come back to London for a very long time. There are only good things in California: the sun, my family, my boyfriend. Perhaps I'm swayed by rose-colored memories, but I'm so ready to be wrapped in that warmth. I've learned so much about myself these past nine months. I do think that it was fate for my life to go this way. The word grateful doesn't begin to describe how glad I am to have done this. But the word glad doesn't begin to describe how happy I am to be going home. 
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